Amazon to make first physical footprint in Manhattan

Amazon is reportedly opening a brick-and-mortar retail store in time for the holiday shopping season, but details of what the online retail giant will offer in the location are still murky.

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Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

Online retail giant Amazon is ready for the real world — at least for the holidays.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Amazon will open its very first brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan, on the heavily trafficked 34th St., just in time for the upcoming shopping season.

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Details of what Amazon plans to offer in the location are still murky, but so far it’s looking like it will serve as a combined mini-warehouse and an Amazon product showroom. With limited inventory, the space could service same-day delivery customers as well as provide item return, exchange and pickup services, according to the report.

Questions of when and if Amazon would finally make a physical footprint have swirled for years, especially since the lack of one is seemingly Amazon’s only weakness when it comes to retailing.

While the company has dabbled in physical storefronts before with pop-up shops, smart vending machines and some of its Zappos locations, the Manhattan store will mark Amazon’s most significant brick-and-mortar retail attempt to date. 

But Amazon isn’t being overly optimistic with the brick-and-mortar endeavor, as sources cited in the WSJ report say that the store will be a beta test, with Amazon abandoning the concept if it proves unsuccessful.

Given the location, however, Amazon is at least ensuring itself a huge amount of spillover traffic from neighboring Manhattan tourist hotspots, with the Empire State building and the Macy’s Herald Square flagship store nearby. 

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